Monday, August 8, 2011

Another Light Week and a Green Mountain Ascent

Another week of low mileage has passed. My hope has been that if I limit my outings to short runs, incorporate three or four rest days per week, while allowing a long slow trail run on occasion the pains and twinges I feel as a potentially pending metatarsal stress fracture will be averted. The plan seems to be working. I went out for a couple of three mile jogs this week pushing Elliott in the running stroller and on Saturday Alex joined me on a run to the summit of Green Mountain from the NCAR parking lot in Boulder and back.

Alex was not in the running condition necessary for such a run but with overall strength and youth on his side he was able to tough it out and make it up and back. I felt great. I probably could have run the entire ascent in close to an hour but Alex, who was also suffering from strained cartilage around the sternum from parkour that made hard breathing painful, needed an occasional rest and to walk some of the steeper sections. The temperature was around 90 and although he brought a liter of water I don't think he had hydrated adequately beforehand. I had eaten a hardy breakfast, hydrated during the night, and downed a quart of Gatorade beforehand so I was prepared. I didn't even need a gel on the way.

The elevation difference between NCAR and Green's summit is about 2100 ft., but there is an ascent and descent before the trail starts up in earnest in Bear Canyon so overall gain is probably 2400 ft. I think the route is the most runnable of any of the climbs to the summits of the peaks on the edge of Boulder. There are no stretches where a well-conditioned trail runner would have to break from a run motion to a power hike. The overall ascent was 4.2 miles so there is roughly a 10% average grade.

We took in the view at the top for a couple of minutes, were awed by hundreds of dragon flies swarming, chatted with some hikers taking a rest and headed back down. I had assumed that Alex would let loose on the descent and that he'd be waiting for me but the irritated cartilage was even more painful running downhill, we assume because of increased arm movement for balance, so I was a bit torn between going slower and staying with my invited guest or letting fly. Once we were about halfway down and I found myself alone I just kept going; I figured Alex might be better off at his own pace without feeling he was influencing what I was doing or that he was having to push himself through pain.

My foot did not seem impacted by the run although there was some increased irritation of the Achilles tendon in the left foot. Today is the start of my last week of summer vacation before the school year begins so I'm going to try to fit in two long runs.

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